Shelby County health officials give update on COVID-19 vaccine distribution, business restrictions

Shelby County health officials give update on COVID-19 vaccine distribution, business restrictions
Over 650,000 Shelby County residents will need to be vaccinated twice in the next year, according to SCHD Director Alisa Haushalter. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) (Matt Slocum)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County health officials spoke Tuesday about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in our community.

Mayor Lee Harris said the county is working on the economic recovery of small businesses.

$110,000 was given to local community theater organizations.

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Harris said the county commission will meet tomorrow to discuss measures to support those in the restaurant industry.

Around 850,000 people have been tested in Shelby County in the last 10 months.

A larger number will need to be vaccinated against the virus, Harris said.

Currently, a COVID-19 vaccine is not available to the public.

Tennessee expects to see 90,000 doses of the vaccine per week, Harris said.

The mayor said to expect vaccine availability to be scarce.

Double-dose vaccines could possibly be cut down one dose, Harris said.

Chief of Epidemiology David Sweat said the county is up to 945 total deaths from COVID-19.

615 people are in the hospital locally due to the virus.

COVID-19 is the third leading cause of death in the county for 2020, Sweat said.

The virus is five times more fatal than the flu.

SCHD Director Alisa Haushalter said the health department received over 12,000 doses of the vaccine for those in the 1a1 category, primarily first responders and those who provide direct patient care.

With the help of many community partners and volunteers, SCHD vaccinated almost 9,500 people in a seven-day period.

Haushalter said the SCHD does not have any additional vaccines.

Over 650,000 Shelby County residents will need to be vaccinated twice in the next year, a task Haushalter called a “significant undertaking.”

The Shelby County Health Department Hotline is available for any questions and concerns at 901-222-MASK.

The Pipkin Building at Tiger Lane will be a permanent vaccine distribution site through June.

Health officer Dr. Bruce Randolph encouraged the community to remain steadfast in fighting the virus.

Everyone should continue wearing masks, social distancing and avoiding crowds.

Randolph said some local businesses have not been in compliance with the current health directive.

Food establishments must have a permit and must be serving food to be open and operate at 25 percent.

Indoor dining is still discouraged, Randolph said.

Restaurants must have a license to serve alcohol and must serve food if alcohol is served.

Bars are closed and restaurants must close at 10, Randolph said.

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